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Humana invests $207,000 in broadband, telehealth hub, internet access points in Lyon County

Humana logo.
Humana
/
Humana logo.

Lyon County will receive $207,000 from a Kentucky-based health insurance company to invest in the county's broadband infrastructure.

Humana Healthy Horizons, Humana's Medicaid plan in Kentucky, announced this week in a release it will invest the money to increase the availability of internet services and improve digital access to healthcare in the county.

In collaboration with Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White and Kentucky-based internet service provider Fastnet, Humana Healthy Horizons plans to expand internet infrastructure to connect approximately 180 residents in two target areas with fiber optic cable and offer free broadband for one year. In addition, the corporation plans to place three community internet access points throughout the county.

For the fiber optic cable, Humana and Fastnet utilized data to pick areas that were lower-income and more densely populated. Residents will be able to choose whether they will purchase internet service for themselves after the free year has elapsed. The access points, which White said may be placed at churches, will still be available.

White said Humana approached him with its infrastructure initiative because Lyon County residents have expressed interest in greater connectivity.Fastnet was involved because it has provided internet service to Lyon County in prior years, and the county recently signed a contract with the internet service provider to connect more residents.

The Humana initiative comes alongside the $1.5 million in federal funding that Lyon County received from the American Rescue Plan Act, all of which White said will be diverted toward fiber internet promotion.

Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White.
Kentucky County Judge/Executive Association
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Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White.

“A lot of rural America has been left out [of high-speed broadband],” White said. “A lot of people want to live in our county, but they may operate business from home or work from home, and that restricts them from being able to choose our county. After this, they’ll be able to start looking at our county like they would a big city.”

Humana also plans to establish a telehealth hub for community residents to conduct private televisits with local, regional and statewide hospital systems in primary, urgent and preventive care, as well as cardiology and behavioral health services. The company also plans to provide educational resources on internet safety and healthcare benefits and affordability.

The location of the hub has not yet been finalized, but it may include devices such as a USB-enabled stethoscope to allow for more comprehensive care. Educational resources will be made available to anyone at no cost through the Lyon County website.

Jeb Duke, regional vice president of Medicaid operations with Humana, said this initiative in Lyon County is part of the $20 million the company has put toward addressing the pandemic throughout Kentucky.

“What we know from serving Medicaid members and different types of members throughout Kentucky is that social determinants have an impact on every part of our lives, and this project really has the ability to impact healthcare, employment, education, and getting rid of that digital divide that we have in rural versus urban communities,” Duke said.

The company requests any inquiries regarding the Lyon County infrastructure initiative be directed to Mark Taylor, director of corporate and financial communications, at mtaylor108@humana.com.

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